You Mon Tsang December 1st, 2012
Winter is a great time to visit Point Reyes and one of the major reasons is whale watching. The gray whales migrate past and the elephant seals return to the Point Reyes Headlands. Check the video below for a terrific video of some lucky individuals who saw some whales. But please note that lots of visitors coming Point Reyes means that the Park Service will start their shuttle service.
From the NPS site.
Starting on Dec 29, 2012, bus service is provided Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from Drakes Beach directly to the lighthouse parking lot. Visitors can disembark for whale watching and wildflowers, or they may continue on to Chimney Rock for hiking and seal watching.
You Mon Tsang January 29th, 2010
The latest from the National Park Service:
High surf has been pounding the beaches, they appear much smaller in winter as sand is carried to offshore bars. Safety first, do no turn your back on the waves and walk halfway up the beach, not near the water.
A pair of coyotes were spotted at South Beach approaching the small colony of elephant seals below the Lighthouse cliffs; perhaps to scavenge some dead pups. As the population of coyotes increases in West Marin, they have been taking advantage of seal pups on the beaches as an easy meal. These two were deflected by the size of the male seals in the area and decided to dine elsewhere. The seal colonies are flourishing with some loss of pups due to the high surf.
Lovely weather last Saturday reassured us that gray whales are passing, over 20 were seen under the clear skies at the point; the highest count for any day this season. They return in a month or so, More sightings are likely in March with February being the lull in sightings.
Marin County Open Space rangers will be leading a walk at Abbots Lagoon on Sunday, January 31 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm; lot’s of resting birds and a possibility to see the freshwater otters who have a den there.
This weekend is the fifth annual ‘Fungus Fair’ with walks beginning at 10:00 am on Saturday, January 30 at the Bear Valley Visitor Center; Sunday, January 31 a display of fungi may be viewed at the Visitor Center.
You Mon Tsang January 19th, 2008
Turns out there is plenty to do in January in Point Reyes. On a nice, sunny day, the beaches and hikes are as pleasant as ever. Just bring another layer and get started a little earlier. Once the sun goes down early, it can get chilly.
But January also brings unique opportunities for those of us who want to see wildlife.
* Whale Watching from the Lighthouse and Chimney Rock. This is a popular enough event that the Park Service closes the road to the lighthouse point and runs buses from the Drakes Beach Visitors Center ($5 per person). While I have not ever caught site of a whale on these trips, I still enjoy the trip out to the point. The Park Service has a good page on whale watching from the point.
* Breeding Elephant Seals. I like to head out to Chimney Rock to watch the wales, because it is also possible that the elephant seals are on the beach hanging out and breeding. This year, they are out en masse! They are fun to watch as they lie and shift around in the sun. From the Chimney Rock parking lot, look for signs that direct you on a short trail heading south.
* Salmon Run. From mid-Dec to mid-January (over for 2008), SPAWN lead groups from the town of Lagunitas to find salmon that swam upstream and lay their eggs. The whole process is fascinating and newbies should take the tour as it can be difficult to find the salmon without an experienced eye. You can find out more at the SPAWN web site.
Photo taken by flauto